Whether they have a pandemic puppy, a protracted dog, or a boisterous cat, pet owners should soon be getting an upgrade in their boarding and day care options.
Sisters Savannah Dillard and Sierra Hanson have turned their love for fur babies into an entrepreneurial business they call The Barkmore.
Dillard (24) and Hanson (22) are overseeing the construction of the 6,000 square meter building on Brianna Court across from the Meijer grocery store and plan to open what Dillard calls a “pet hotel” next month.
The building that is now taking shape is anything but institutional, with a chandelier reception area, high-tech amenities, and subtle details like “fear-free” wall paint.
“We wanted it to feel more like a pet hotel, not just a kennel,” said Dillard.
The sisters’ plan to open a business that caters to the pet demographic has been in the works for some time and grew out of their work at All Creatures Animal Hospital.
“We’ve been talking about opening a pet daycare for a few years,” said Dillard. “So many people need a place to take their dogs and cats with them.”
Based on this idea, the sisters turned to their father, Frank Hanson, who has owned Bowling Green’s AAA Systems security company for 28 years.
“He said, ‘If you think you can do it, I’ll help you,'” Dillard recalled.
Dillard and her sister did their homework and searched for daycare and boarding schools for pets in major cities to come up with a building design and business plan.
“I’m a businessman, so I said you had to get it down on paper and see if it worked,” said Frank Hanson. “You did a really good job. I am proud of you that you have taken on this. “
Compiling financial projections and a building design would be no walk in the dog park.
“It was a lot of work,” said Sierra Hanson. “It was definitely not easy.”
While they continued to work at All Creatures Animal Hospital, the sisters spent their after hours doing research and planning.
“We could see what other facilities looked like inside and out,” said Sierra Hanson. “We wanted to give people what they wanted.”
The sisters have come up with a facility that can accommodate up to 43 dogs and six cats for day care or boarding.
However, this simple concept took some time to get off the ground – and garner the funding Bowling Greens Builders by Design needed to continue construction.
“There were a lot of ‘no’s’,” Dillard said of the pitches to the banks. “But we were finally able to bring it together. We were very persistent. “
The final design includes several dog suites with cameras that pet owners can access for online viewing, a paperless registration process, and a “24-hour room” where owners can drop off their pets around the clock.
“We know that some people really appreciate their dogs,” said Dillard, who has four dogs of her own. “We want the dogs to feel as comfortable as possible.”
When they toured the one-acre construction site on Wednesday, the sisters could see their plan come together. They’re shooting for The Barkmore, which opens for boarding on November 22nd and daycare on December 1st.
“We’re happy to open up and show people what we have,” said Dillard.
– Follow business reporter Don Sergent on Twitter @BGDNbusiness or visit bgdaily news.com.
– Follow business reporter Don Sergent on Twitter @BGDNbusiness or visit bgdailynews.com.